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FOOTBALL FEVER: The Euros have begun, and so have the sleepless nights
ONE of the indigenous tribes in Sarawak has an informal tradition when it comes to marking time and distances. It seems such things are measured by the amount of time one takes to smoke a cigarette.
For instance, if you ask how far away one longhouse is located from another longhouse, the person would say "one cigarette".
In fact, there was apparently at least one time in court when a victim of a crime was asked how long it took for the perpetrator to commit the said offence. The reply was: "Half a cigarette".
How this works one can only guess, as one would think that different people take different amounts of time to smoke a stick.
With the crazy season called the European Championship upon us now, you just know that the number of cigarettes being smoked will definitely increase, and what's more, the more fanatical fans will likely take an even shorter time to smoke that cancer stick.
And that's not all that will cause football fans to cut their lives shorter by a few minutes.
Once every two years, football fanatics will spend about a month losing sleep as they tune into late- night games at either the Euros or the Fifa World Cup. The only exception was in 2002 when the World Cup was played in South Korea and Japan and football fans in Malaysia could watch matches at a godly hour.
With the Euros this year being played at either midnight or 2.45am Malaysian time, fans here will once again be staying up late for the sake of watching the "beautiful game". Or, if you're not a football fan, "22 men chasing a ball around a field".
The lack of sleep cannot be good for the body. But that's not the only thing that will be compromised by the football fever which grips so many nations around the world.
Sleepy-eyed football fans in Asia, especially, will be walking into their offices looking like extraterrestrials whose eyes have no whites.
They will be drinking litres of coffee each day to stay awake. If possible, they would have a caffeine drip permanently attached to their arms.
Of course, the more fanatical may actually take the entire month off from work just so they can spend their days like vampires, sleeping, sans the coffins.
But for most of us who can't afford to waste our annual leave days, the red-eyed, un-ironed, unshaven, homeless look will be the order of the day, haute couture from Milan, Paris and where-have-you be damned.
You'll also find people sleeping in their cars during lunch breaks, sneaking off for naps in toilet cubicles, or just snoring at their desks.
But let's not forget that our employers pay us to work, so perhaps some tips are necessary to beat the fatigue that is sure to hit us football fans in the next month or so.
First of all, try to sleep early. Catching a few hours of sleep a night and waking up for the games will at least allow us to recharge those batteries.
Second, try not to watch all the games. Just like a military commander picks and chooses the field of battle, perhaps we can pick and choose which games we should watch.
Third, and this ties in with the second suggestion, record the games you don't need to watch "live". With Astro's PVR these days, you can do that.
And, finally, there are also delayed telecasts and replays on the tube, so you can catch those as well.
Tall order for football junkies intent on watching live telecasts? For sure. But still doable.
Yes, if you record a game or wait for a replay of the match, you'd probably know the result already. But is it worth losing sleep over?
And spare a thought for your better half, unless he or she is a football fanatic as well. If not, you may just find yourself sleeping with the dog, or completely out on the street.
Of course, if a football fan does find himself out on the street, chances are he'll be spending it at the local 24-hour restaurant watching the games anyway.
As for me, I'll be trying to watch only the games I think will be exciting. But like I said earlier, tall order for a football junkie.
So wish me luck, and I'll do the same for you.